There are no vets in my area that work on chickens, so I am kinda at a loss! I have been trying to self doctor myself, but to no avail! Any help will be very appreciated!
A little back info:
I have a Silver Laced Wyandotte hen named Sanders who is about a year and 1 month old. She has 3 sisters from the same clutch in the hen house with her. She has not started laying yet, but her comb has started filling out and getting red, so I am guessing she should be laying soon (one of her sisters is doing the same thing, and the other 2 hens have been laying for about 4 months). All the hens are healthy and have never had any problems. They have a hen house with a roost only a couple feet off the ground, a run about 10 x 15 which is covered in hay, and another dog pen with grass they go to for a few hours a day to get fresh grass and bugs.They are protected and safe from any dogs, cats, raccoons, or other predators.
Now about the issue:
About a week ago, when I put the girls out to the dog pen so they could eat some grass, I noticed that Sanders was limping slightly on her left leg, and not able to keep up as fast as the others. I didn't think too much about it, thinking she may have fell off the roost funny an twisted her leg. So I thought I could give her a day or two and see if it got any better on its own.
A couple days later, she was still limping on it, so I checked for bumblefoot (negative), broken bones (nope), cuts, scrapes, or thorns (none). She also had no warm spots indicating that anything was bruised or torn. My fiance said something about being egg bound, so while I was at work he gave her a warm bath and checked for that. He said she was not egg bound, and he put her back outside with the others. Because she was still eating, drinking, pooping, and acting normally, I gave it another day to see if by morning if there would be any improvement. (note, the other chickens have NOT been aggressive towards her in any way, shape or form)
Morning came, and she was worse. She was limping worse on her foot, and instead of walking on it like she was, she was only using it as a sort of crutch when she walked. So, I brought her inside and decided to restrict her movement to see if maybe that would help. Put her in a large dog kennel lined with hay, gave her food and water, and put her in a place that was safe and quiet. I kept her in there for 2 days, only letting her out long enough to clean the kennel and give her more food and water.
After those 2 days, I decided to take her outside so she could get some sunshine, eat some grass and I could observe her movement so see if the leg was any better. She was worse. Now, not only was she unable to walk on the leg, she wouldn't put ANY weight on it. She would hop on the one single leg, keeping the bad one off the ground, and use her wings to steady her since she was so off balance from not being able to use both legs. After that, I checked her again for bumblefoot (still negative), broken bones (nope), cuts, scrapes, and thorns (none). But now, her hock felt really hot compared to the other.
In a last ditch effort, we wrapped her leg in some gauze and tape around the hock as a sort of stabilizer and put her back outside in the yard to see if she might be able to walk better. At first it seemed she was using it better, but after a couple hours being outside, she was still not using it.
All this time, she has been eating, drinking, pooping, and acting fine. She tries to walk, and can for a few feet, then lays down and eats what is in front of her. She is alert, her eyes and nose is clear and bright, her skin is pink, her legs are bright yellow with no rough patches. She will "talk" to you, recognizes you, can see fine, and has learned to love being held and petted. Her crop fills and empties normally, and she socializes with the other chickens normally, even when she had been locked up for a couple days. She has lost a little weight, but I am guessing that is from simply not being able to get to as much as as normal hen could. The only issue it seems it that she just cant walk on that leg!
My question is:
What could it be? How can I help her?
We are scared it is something serious like Mareks disease. Terrified really. We have done everything we can think of and nothing has worked yet. There are no vets anywhere near here that work with chickens, and I don't know anyone that has has chickens long enough to be able to help. I hate seeing her not be able to walk and 'scratch' like a normal chicken, and I want to help her the best I can.
Any help is greatly appreciated! Sorry for the novel of a post, but I just wanted to make sure I covered everything. If you need a video, pictures, or any other information, please let me know! Thanks so much in advance!!!